Friday, October 19, 2007

Frugal Friday: Bonus Tracfone minutes

I recognize the safety aspects of owning a cell phone, but never had the money to commit to a monthly plan - and even if I had had the money before, still probably would not have bothered. But I did buy a Tracfone a couple of years ago, and still use it. It has come in handy more than once, especially during our recent move.

Tracfone minutes can be a little pricey if you're looking at it purely from a "per minute" basis, but the whole point is to just have a phone with some time on it for emergencies, not necessarily the best deal. I do know there are other pay-as-you-go phone services out there now, but when I bought my Tracfone, it was the only service available at the time. All the rest have been followers. So, I have a perfectly good phone, now I just need minutes.

When it comes time to renew my minutes, I always head over here:

Tracfone YahooGroup

and look at the last few posts to see if there are any current really good bonus codes. Tracfone will often email bonus codes to you, but they are usually only for 20 minutes. The bonus codes that the members of the YahooGroup manage to find are often for 60 minutes or more. Some of them simply double however many minutes you buy, so if you buy 60, you get 60 extra, if you buy 300, you get 300 extra! And so on.

I always make sure to read all replies to any posted code, to make sure that people aren't having trouble with it. The archives are public, so you don't even have to join the group if you don't want to.

One thing you should know - the bonus minutes never show up anywhere during the checkout process. (If it's a bad/expired code, I think it does tell you that much. It just doesn't tell you that you have a GOOD code. Bah.) You will only know for sure that they have been applied when you do the phone verification thing and you see your minutes change on the screen. I have not had a bad one yet, but I don't know what kind of recourse is available if you use a code but do not get the bonus minutes. I presume you should be able to call them.

Be sure to check Crystal's Blog for more frugally goodness!

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday: Bathroom Organization

Yay, I'm back - sort of! We got moved in on the 6th, but I've been busy, busy trying to settle in and unpack. Yikes, we have a lot of stuff!

This week I thought I'd share my latest stroke of brilliance for bathroom organization. We lost having a medicine cabinet as well as a built-in toothbrush holder in the main bathroom when we moved. Not that the toothbrush holder really worked like it should - modern toothbrushes don't fit the old fashioned holders, so all the toothbrushes had to lay across the holder rather than fit into the holes.

At any rate, we no longer have that. I knew I needed something to both take the place of what we had, as well as offer better organization anyway.

During one of my many trips to CVS where I had a lot of Extra Bucks to burn, I bought a wire utensil/napkin caddy. These are intended to sit on a table to hold utensils and napkins, usually for picnics or potlucks. I had a much different idea in mind:

Since there are 3 utensil compartments, it works perfectly for the three of us who use that bathroom the most. It also features folding handles, which I have folded inward instead of outward, thereby creating 3 sections in the large area. (Although these "sections" don't have walls.) I placed a dark colored washcloth underneath to catch drips from the brushes.

It only cost me a dollar on summer clearance, it organizes perfectly, and it will wash easily when the time comes for that. That certainly Works For Me!

Shameless plug for a friend: a friend of mine has two shirt designs in a "Woot Shirt Derby" contest - the winner gets the joy of seeing their design printed and sold as a Woot shirt. If you have ever bought anything at Woot (you must be a previous purchaser to prevent gaming of the vote system) would you please consider logging in and voting for one or both of her shirts? (You can vote for as many shirts as you like, but only one vote per shirt.)

"They Always Attack At Night" and
"Good Night Moon"

Just click on the little button that says, "I'd want one". And if you do go vote, thanks! It will mean a lot to her to see her designs do well.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday: The Backwards Edition!

Shannon is hosting her usual themed WFMW this first Wednesday of the month, only this time, instead of giving advice, we get to ask the wide, wide world of internets FOR some advice! And oh, people, do I need this one!

Dawdlers. How do you hurry them up? I'm beggin', folks!

Hermione is turning 9 today, (Insert obligatory whine about "where HAS the time gone?!") and she dawdles over everything, turning life into a double-length affair. Worst is bathtime and toothbrushing. She gets off in her own little world and has no concept of how much time has gone by. Even when she buckles down and starts in on the job at hand, she tends to go oh so slow, on the pretense of being careful, but really just tiptoeing through the tulips of her mind.

Bathtime got so bad 3 weeks ago that I had to forbid all bathtime play until we move. (Which is - GULP - Saturday!) And the first week after I grounded her, the additional part of her punishment was that I came in the bathroom with her and watched her take a bath, cajoling her through the process to get her finished.

I can't do that all the time, of course. I have other things to do. But this dawdling has got to stop. It's not fair to the other members of the household, and it's not a good habit to be in. I've tried grounding, I've tried standing over her while she does her tasks, I've tried rewards, I've tried timers. Something's gotta give!

So - give it your best shot. She's a sweet kid, it's not a matter of being defiant, it's a matter of being off in her own world. (Although, the result to the rest of the family is the same, no matter the reasons. And believe me, we've talked about how selfish it is to take up and waste everyone else's time so badly.) We need to get this stopped - help!

I'll be gone most of the day, and will be taking down the computer some time on Thursday, so I don't know when I will get a chance to get back to you lovely commenters. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers this weekend, please!

Monday, October 1, 2007

My consciences sit in the back seat

There are days when I feel like the old cartoon or sitcom characters who develop little "conscience" characters who sat on the shoulders, angel on the right, devil on the left. Or Pinocchio with Jiminy Cricket, that cheerful little fellow who tried to get silly Pinocchio to do right.

I have two consciences, however, and they sit in the back seat.

You have to love the precious innocence of the child who wants to do right, and you can't help but be humbled by it. So often, we tell our children by our actions, "do as I say, not as I do" and eventually, they're going to call us on it.

Today we were driving to our new home. It's about 45 minutes away, on a road we've been on just once before. It's a windy, twisty country road, just right for zooming along and enjoying the feel of driving. Harry pipes up from the back seat, "60. Are we allowed to do 60 on this road?" Why, I don't know sugar, I haven't noticed a speed limit sign yet.

Although I had more than a suspicion that it certainly wasn't 60 through there. Ahem.

On the way back, he certainly hadn't forgotten it. He finally spied a speed limit sign and politely informed me, "45, that's the speed limit. So you can drop your speed."

Oh yes, he did. He said that. Did I mention he's 12 going on 30? How very helpful. He's going to drive some poor very lucky woman just a teensy bit nuts someday. Lord bless the child.

His sister is no better, of course. Her specialty seems to be language. We don't allow cussing in any form in our family, not even the "softer" cussing like g*sh and d*rn. But then you get in to all sorts of discussions about just what is cussing and what isn't. It seems it's human nature to need expletives of some kind, even if it's just "Oh!" or "Flitter!" or other such nonsense. But then you get the questions of how close is too close. G*sh is bad, but what about "oh, goodness!". D*rn is forbidden, but how about "drat"?

Which is the one that trips me up. And Hermione catches it every time. "I thought drat was a bad word?" Poor baby. We try to be consistent, but it's so hard sometimes isn't it?

The good Lord certainly knew what he was doing when he gave me these two. They have stretched my mind and my abilities beyond anything I knew possible. My heart overflows with love I never knew was in my grasp. And every day, I feel just a little more humbled to be their mother, entrusted with their spiritual care until they are old enough to make those decisions on their own.

Because most days, they're the ones doing the teaching.